Sports

Haircuts, headbutts & 40 facts about Zidane on his 40th birthday‏

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1. In an online poll commissioned by Uefa on their 50th anniversary in 2004, Zinedine Zidane was voted the outstanding player of the last 50 years.

2. Capable of turning a game on its head, one of the great moments of his career came when he scored twice late on to secure France a dramatic 2-1 win over England in the defending champions’ opening match of Euro 2004

.3. Zidane scored two goals in the 1998 World Cup final as France beat Brazil 3-0. These were the only goals he scored against South American opponents at international level.

4. He is only one of two players to have won the Fifa World Player of the Year three times or more, with Ronaldo the only other man to have achieved this feat.

5. After his heroic performance in France 98, Italy coach Cesare Maldini proclaimed: “I would give up five players to have Zizou in my squad.”

6. During his international career, Zidane featured in six major tournaments, the first of which was Euro 96 and the last of which came 10 years later at the World Cup in Germany.

7. After seven minutes of the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane scored a penalty to put France ahead against Italy, joining illustrious company in the form of Vava, Pele and Paul Breitner as players to have scored in two different finals.

8. Zidane scored eight goals for two successive seasons with Bordeaux to help establish him as one of France’s most promising talents.

9.
‘Zizou’ scored nine goals in his final season with Real Madrid, all of which came in the league. This tally in La Liga was a joint personal best, although on three previous occasions he hit double figures in all competitions with Los Blancos.

10. At the age of 10, Zidane took his first serious steps in the game, signing for US Saint-Henri. This would also be the number he wore with such distinction for much of his career.

11. Zidane claimed 11 major honours at club level, including two Scudetti while with Juventus, one Primera Division title and, most famously, one Champions League trophy.

12. After making his international debut in 1994, he would go on to play for Les Bleus for 12 more years.

13. Always a rather combustible individual, Zidane was booked 13 times playing for his country.

14. Continuing on the theme of discipline, he picked up 14 red cards over the course of his career, including two for his country.

15.
On May 15, 2002, Zidane produced one of his most iconic moments, sending an immaculate volley into the Bayer Leverkusen net from long range for Real Madrid in the Champions League final. It proved to be the winning goal, and was scored with his supposedly weaker foot.

16. Sixteen of Zidane’s 31 international goals came in the second half of matches. Seven of these came in the last 10 minutes of games.

17. The eldest son of the France great, Enzo, is 17 years old and plays for Real Madrid’s youth academy. Though born in Lyon, the midfielder is eligible to play for France, Spain and Algeria at international level. He is named after Uruguay playmaker Enzo Francescoli.

18. At the age of 18, he scored his first professional goal for Cannes, nearly two seasons after making his debut. His prize was a car awarded to him by club president Alain Pedretti.

19. A fiery temper when he was young meant that Zidane was treated with caution initially. He would not play for France at Under-19 level or even Under-21 level. He was a great example of a late bloomer.

20.
In the 20th minute of extra time in the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi.